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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Dante, The Wicked Armadillo's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 28th, 2010
10:55 am
Strange Day
Work plods along, not too badly. Today is new and interesting stuff (which is interrupting my programming time, which is also really interesting stuff). So, right now I am trying to clear my head and focus.

The thing is, this thought keeps running thought my head, that "Today is just another point on the slope of a really big catastrophe curve". Which is really odd, because right now things are not so bad.

Current Mood: creative
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
2:54 am
Funny
I am reading a book called "The Stupidest Angel", I am about .75 of the way through it. I think you could get a similar book by giving David Lynch mood stabilizers, chaining him to a desk, and telling him to write a Christmas story. So far not bad at all.
12:49 am
"It's A Laser Beam...."
So in and around my mundane work I got to work with lasers today. The old one on our probestation died and I was asked to find a new one. I found several. My personal favorite was the 540 watt 302nm Excimer laser from Coherent. At 900mJ it is 360 times more powerful than the laser it would have replaced. Granted it weighs some what more than the 15 LB unit (this counts the power supply), it would replace, but this is nothing that cannot be fixed with enough steel supports added to the microscope. Unfortunately, someone found a spare laser in a box from Glasgow (nobody knew we had this it had been gathering dust for about a year, seriously). So today I opened it up and reconfigured it to run on American power. Then I hooked it up to the probestation, and hacked together a light source for the targeting system. Then began the testing phase of the process. I am pretty certain I blew a hole through a wafer. And there is now a wafer with a smiley face scribed into the metal layer. I tried zooming out, and found the thing to be smaller than a period on printed paper in 9 point font. Then I tried other wavelengths. Infrared is no good, it does nothing to the metal. Ultraviolet is no too bad, though the edges of the smiley faces are no so well defined. It looks like green is really the best for that.

Ok, in all seriousness (well ok, there is *one* smiley face, and a bunch of holes in a scrap wafer), it was fun, and I did laugh (possibly a wee bit too loudly, there were, comments), it works quite well. Surprisingly it seems many people did not expect this to work at all, or at least not without more modifications than I had to make to the system. Kinda cool, really.

However, being a bit of a laser enthusiast, this reminded me of something I have always wanted to try.

You see people have told me that a laser *cannot* under any circumstances conduct electricity. Granted this is technically true. However, if the laser ionizes the air, you can discharge a high voltage system down the ionized path (This is how lightning works, more or less). You need *a lot* of current at a very high voltage to do this. You also need a very powerful laser. I'm thinking a nitrogen system will probably work the best for this, which is good as they are fairly easy to construct (out of common household items). The real problem is the high voltage capacitive bank for the discharge down the beam. I am thinking that a kiloamp ot three should be sufficient, at say a few 10s of thousands of volts. I'm going to need a lot of glass plate for this.

Current Mood: contemplative
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
7:52 pm
I need to stop doing this
Ok, we all know I have an eating problem.

Some times I do have a legitimate appetite. However, most of the time if I do not pay attention I do not realize that I need to eat.

This is again the case. I was working on a precision part under the microscope at about 17:30 today, and could not for the life of me understand why my hands were shaking so badly. I thought I had caught another bug at the office or something. After about 10 or 15 minutes I realized that I had not eaten anything since lunch yesterday. Of course by the time I realized this it was sort of pointless trying to run out, get food, and force myself to eat it (which more often than not I have to do). Instead I made a sort of syrup out of some sugar and the office coffee (it was really quite gross), and my hands stopped shaking so badly.

I know this is bad for me, I really do. Sadly even now I do not feel hungry. I am trying to convince myself that I want food (I know I need it, I just do not want it). On the up side even if I do not eat until tomorrow I will force lunch upon myself as kendo demands it. I tried skipping lunch on kendo day once, that was a mistake I will never repeat (Mind you, I got side tracked in the lab at work that day and forgot to get lunch).

The interesting part about this is that I have not gone this long without food in quite a few years, and I do not recall feeling quite like this. It is sort of like sleep deprivation, but some of the more irritating things like the paranoia are absent.

Current Mood: geeky
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
11:51 pm
It never ends
Ok, Miranda and I stopped watching television years ago. We watch movies, and play video games (though that is mostly me with the games). So I was very surprised this morning to find a Time Verner (The fascist Kable Kompany), contractor using a trencher to run a cable to our house. So I ask the first question which comes to mind, "was ist das"? I was told that in order to make our cable service more aesthetically pleasing that they were removing the aerial line running to our house and replacing it with a buried one. To which I replied, that is great, however, we do not currently have cable service, nor is it likely that we ever shall. The technician seemed a little startled by this. He pointed out that This would be very convenient if I wanted cable service, or wished to use the high speed internet access through Time Verner. Here I missed an opportunity to say something like, You can connect this cable to my dwelling when my cold dead corpse is rotting away. Or possibly something along the lines of, I stand about as much of a chance of actually requesting cable as the hunters stand of being shot at by the deer they hunt. Sadly I was still waking up, and simply assured him that there was absolutely no possibility of my voluntarily using Time Verner for any sort of service. I went on to explain that as a result of this there is now a completely useless cable laying in a narrow trench in my back yard. His response was "oops" We discussed this, and I suspect one of my neighbors has ordered cable, and today was the install day. And for what ever reason He tried to install it here. I went on to explain that I wanted the cable removed from the trench, and the ground put back as neatly as possible.

Then I drove to the office. I had to turn around and get my wallet which I had completely forgotten (due probably to all of the morning's silliness). For laughs and giggles I checked the trench. There was (and continues to be as of this writing), an unterminated coaxial cable with a heavy plastic insulating outer sheath resting against the side of the house. His solution to replacing the dirt? Drive the trenching machine back over it so the tires pack it down. I was not amused.

After I arrived at work I called Time Verner, I explained the morning's events calmly and clearly to the woman on the phone. After some discussion she quickly arrived at the conclusion that someone else had requested service and the tech had mistakenly run the line to my house. I agreed with her as this really is not that unlikely. I asked that the cable be removed. She said that she needed to talk to the installation group to find out what is going on. I gave her a contact number, and I was promised to receive a call about this today. Imagine my complete lack of surprise to have no messages of any sort on my desk phone by 19:00.

So I get home and I call Time Verner yet again. I am transferred from sales (The only number I seem to be able to find, or get routed to by the automated phone fascist), to the service group. I was once again polite (at first). I explained the day's events to them, and how I was expecting a return call, and since it never arrived I wanted an explanation, and to have the cable removed from my back yard.

I was put on hold.

I When the woman on the phone returned I was asked if I was certain that this was a Time Verner Tech. I responded that this is who the person with the machine claimed to be, and that there is now a cable resting on the side of the house.

I was put on hold.

When she returned she asked me if the cable was "big and round". I explained that it was indeed a standard coaxial cable with a heavy black outer sheath.

I was put on hold. This sort of experience was one of the things I really hated about these guy,, and have not missed at all. And now I get to relive this Nightmare reminiscent of Brazil with out having to pay a dime.

When she returned, she tried explaining the rules for right of way of services. I explained that I understood these rules quite well. But since there is no service, nor shall there every be service. All I wanted was to have the cable removed.

I was put on hold and I began to see a pattern emerging.

Then she picked up the phone. And began to explain that it is quite likely that the aerial cables are being removed on account of some local ordinance, and that they have to bury it. To which I replied, this is fine, but since we do not have service anyway, there is no point in running the cable to our house, and I wanted it removed.

I waited to hear those oh so magic words, "Please hold".

Instead she countered with, it is being used to provide service to your neighbors. I told her in no uncertain terms that this was very unlikely. And asked her if she was telling me that our neighbors were being fed a connection from our demarcation point. She said no, that the wire is probably being used to provide a connection to our neighbors. I responded again with, so our neighbors are receiving a connection from our demarcation point, as it is the place to which the cable has been run.

I was put on hold. I think perhaps they do this so that people with complaints will hang up in frustration. I also wondered how likely it was for me to be connected with whomever it was she was speaking with.

When she returned, she tried the same argument with the cable being used to provide service to others. I refused to accept this, and was....

Placed on hold.

After she returned, she explained that at this point this had to be submitted to the installation department. I could expect a call within 48 hours. I gave them contact data.

I now await a call I will probably never receive.

I hate these guys so much.

Current Mood: annoyed
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
3:10 pm
Funeral for a friend
I have been thinking about this a lot today. I do not know if I read this somewhere or if these are my own words, but they seem to ring true to me.

When an entertainer dies the world becomes a poorer place. That person regardless of his or her level of talent through their performances made others, even if only for a brief moment, happy. For this reason when that person dies the world is a wee bit darker.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
12:15 pm
It .... Is Alive
Well, I have been meaning to update this for ages, I will take a few minutes to do this now.

Most every one knows that I have started studying Kendo, and also Iaido. I have become a huge advocate of these arts. I recently started wearing Bogu in class, though at times I do not feel worthy of it. Never the less it seems to be helping both my body and mind, this is a good thing.

The Magic continues, I shall have to pack some of it up for the club tonight.

I have also discovered that some of the Victorian era Japanese clothing is possibly the most comfortable on the planet, second only to the kilt. I must obtain more.


That really is is, other than work. Today I am trying to get some stuff wrapped up prior to the holiday.

Current Mood: awake
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007
1:29 pm
Um...
It has been a long time since I have updated this thing. I keep meaning to, and stuff keeps happening.

September has possibly not been the worst month in my life, but I am unable to think of one which was worse.
I really do not want to think about it right now, so I will post about it later.

On a better note:
As of October 1st, I have not had any cigarettes, not one. The bit which impresses me is that even though I am still craving them I have not smoked any. Most people would point out that this would involve a trip to the store. No, I say, this would involve pulling out one of the two cigarettes in the box in my coat, and the lighter I keep there.

Why would I do this you ask???

Simple, I wish to see if I can. I think that if I can have cigarettes on or about my person without smoking them, then this whole thing must be working. Now, if the meds can just keep me from going mental. I am a bit worried about that part of it. But we will see, likely in a week or two.

Current Mood: determined
Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
7:24 pm
More cameras
Well, this has been a good week on the photo front. My father has lent me some camera gear. I now have 2 35mm cameras and one 70mm. I am in the process of working my way through a roll of film in each to see how they work. I picked up a 135(ish)mm lens for the 35mm as well as a 28mm (I cannot wait ti see what the distortion looks like, I wish I could have gotten an 18, but oh well). I have also obtained an IR filter and a UV filter (Thanks Miranda), for my 35mm. I have gone through a roll of film with the UV filter and am waiting for nightfall before I process it (Easier to be in a tiny dark scary room after dark). I cannot wait, much of the roll was spent trying different shutter speeds and f-stops, but I still got a fair number of different things, including (what I understand to be called), a self portrait. And, I guess after this I need to finish of the film in the other two cameras.

Current Mood: geeky
Thursday, March 15th, 2007
7:00 pm
Magic Show(s)
Well, I promised to post when I validated the dates.

There will be a magic show in june at Ringside for Dracula's Daughter. It will be June 8th.

Then again in September on the 14th.


The June show promises to be even better than the first one.

And for the time being I will simply call September "Too Many Magicians".

Current Mood: pleased
Sunday, March 11th, 2007
5:33 pm
wow
Well, it has been a good week's end.

My Mother and Brother came up from Columbia friday night to see a magic show. Since I was the one performing this was a good thing :)

Also many of my friends were there as well, this is also a good thing. I think everybody enjoyed the show, the responses I got were quite positive.

The turn out was incredible, and it made me very happy to see many faces I knew in the audience.

As a result I can now say that there will be more shows :)

This is an awesome thing, as I really like that space. I *WILL* post a date for the next show as soon as I get it. But I am already trying to decide what new things I want to do, and what ticks I want to keep, or even change to make better. However, think the Ice Cream Balls (Yes Ice Cream cones have balls), will remain as this seems to be one of Miranda's Favorites. And of course I now need to find more challenging escapes (these are my favorite).

Up until the show it really had been at least one and a half years since my last show. I always forget how the Adrenaline effects me, it really is quite amazing how one tends to forget these things. After the show it took me over 4 hours for the crash to hit me (like Egg Shen said in Big Trouble in Little China, "... Huge Buzz!".

But the show is over, the backdrop is down, and the magic chest is packed up and waiting for the next show (and waiting for new tricks too). I am also waiting for the next show, and unlike the chest I am impatient.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, February 11th, 2007
6:22 pm
Projects
Well, my write up is done. It is very basic, and in some parts embarrassingly non-technical. However it is still a write up. Now I will mail several copies to myself. A few copies will go in a safety deposit box. I will do this as soon as I feel up to driving again. Once this is done I can begin the real work. I will make a prototype and apply for a patent.

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, December 7th, 2006
10:33 pm
Bad computer
Hey, for those who log into Shelly, it is currently down. I am obtaining replacement parts, it should be back up no later than monday.


Thank you for your patience.

Current Mood: sad
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
2:41 pm
wow, an update
well, it has been a while snce I last updated, and things are quiet now.

I cannot work on wafers until the probe card is replaced (some one else damaged it, and I do not have enough micro maniplators to compensate). So nothing else to do on that untill next week.

This makes it a mellow day, took a pleasant ride about for lunch, and listened to som fairly old school music.

And I find some parts I have been waiting on have arrived, and I can go work on my lab bench.

Perhaps I will also see about putting VNC on my scope, that could be useful...

hmm, I think it will be a relaxing afternoon in the lab...
Thursday, August 31st, 2006
10:40 am
And there was much rejoicing
So, today before I left work I turned in all of my stuff, and verified that the expense sheet and receipts had been properly submitted.

I have quit my job. It has been 11 months and 3 days there.

Tomorrow, there is more running about. But things progress well.

I finally have my life back, I am no longer on third shift, nor do I work on week ends any longer. I am so excited. I would celebrate tonight, but there are things in the morning which must take precedence. No, the celebration will begin tomorrow, and continue through the week.

I just cannot get my head around it.

Last pay check, last morning report, last outage, last ticket, last everything.

Too cool.

Current Mood: happy
Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
8:52 pm
You feel really old when...
Not so long ago I had two very nice and very functional teletypes.

These were disposed of "for me", without my permission and with out my consent. This is a longish story by itself.

Now I need to replace one of them, so I start looking for them. I had no idea these buggers were so hard to find, no idea at all.

The hell of it is, I *could* emulate one but that does not really do much for things like punch tape.

The thing is, I know this is an older technology, but you would think you could still find it.

Suddeny I feel rather old. I begin to think about things, like how many of my co-workers even know what one of these things are, or what they do?
5:29 pm
Right, so the phone rings around 4 and now I cannot get back to sleep. This bites.

To add insult to injury, I get a letter from CCBI and find that they did not save my fingerprint file, and now I have to go back and do it again. This too sucks.


Perhaps I will go get some food and remain awake now.
Sunday, June 11th, 2006
9:48 am
This past week has pretty much sucked.

I see no real improvement in the near future.

To make matters worse, I get home late and find that I'm even more upset than when I left. And I do not even know why.
This too sucks.

I'm even too wound up to sleep now.

I grow weary of this.
Friday, June 2nd, 2006
6:09 pm
This afternoon
Had lunch with Miranda, which was nice.

Then the errands began.

I needed to examine the carbs on my bike. it has a dual carb set up. The carbs have to be synchronized, which means from a practical standpoint that they show the same amount of vacuum on the cylinder side of the carb. The obvious choice here is to use a set of vacuum gages to check this. However, there is another way. If one uses a manometer it is possible to quickly and *very* precisely compare the difference in pressure between the two vacuum lines.

The manometer measures difference in pressure, and can be constructed for under 5 dollars. So I gathered the parts, and got a friend to help me. I got caught in the rain, however I learned several things.

One - Never let a harley mechanic work on a Japanese bike.
Two - My front carb is showing a much higher vacuum than the back carb.
Three - I need a smaller wrench to reach the carb adjustment screw.

After this, I did one more thing.

I broke down and bought a cricket bat.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, May 28th, 2006
5:29 pm
Cool
I was shown this at work last night before every thing went crazy:


http://www.vmunix.com/mark/blog/archives/2005/01/20/escher-lego/
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